Friday, 25 January 2013

Dark Techno Oblivion

Die Höhle was almost two weeks ago! If I don't blog about it now I never will.


I knew it was was going to be a night of techno, but I'd never heard of any of the DJs playing. Out of the list of names, Vincent Vidal sounded the most familiar, so I listened to him on Soundcloud for a bit before I went out. To be honest, I think I was thinking of Vidal Sassoon.

I'm glad I met up with The Commenter (TC) the night before, otherwise I would have felt really awkward turning up at her and her boyfriend's flat for pre-drinks.

By the way, TC suggested that I christen her boyfriend* with a secret blog name too, an initialed name like TC... we decided on OJ (because it's close to his actual name, not because he is particularly fond of orange juice). TC and OJ also had two friends over from London who were coming to Die Höhle- Nat and Matt.

TC, OJ, Nat and Matt- it sounds like I went raving with a gang of cartoon alley cats.

I wish I WISH I had a gang of cartoon alley cats to go raving with. Imagine raving with this:

While we drank, we played that game where everyone puts the names of five celebrities in a hat, then you have to describe the people to your teammates without saying their name. In the next round, you have to describe the celebrity in just one word and finally you're not allowed to use any words- you have to mime. TC and OJ have 'special' rounds of their own invention, a particularly difficult one being the round where you have to mime using just your hand. ( TC did a surprisingly accurate impression of Joseph Fritzl during this round.)

The rave didn't finish until noon the next day, so we weren't in any rush to head out. We finally left at about 1.30am, just in time to get the last metro. The secret location was right at the end of line 12, in the town of Aubervilliers. (It has only recently been added to the line, which freaked me out a bit because I get the Line 12 every day and it has always terminated at Porte de la Chapelle. I thought that The Universe had created a new rave venue just for us. Look at your metro map if you don't believe me.)

While we walked round deserted streets looking for the 'secret venue' (we only knew roughly where it was) we discussed whether there would be a queue or not. As it was getting on for 2am, we thought 'definitely not'. We couldn't have been more wrong- when we finally found the venue we saw that there was a really long queue, starting at the top of  a steep hill and winding down to a pair of huge, red doors.

At first the queue was moving (albeit very slooowly) and there were a few bouncers milling around. Then all of a sudden: the bouncers disappeared, people started pushing in and the queue stopped moving.

A large crowd gathered in front of the doors as newcomers and people from the back of the queue pushed in at the front. Soon it was more a scrum that a queue. Things could only get worse.

Eventually a bouncer turned up and told everybody to reform the queue, or else they would shut the doors. He did nothing to help the situation, he just stood there watching. Everyone who had remained in the original queue like good girls and boys got crushed against cars and motorbikes by the pushers-in, who were now trying to squish back into the line.

I won't bore you with anymore details of the Queue of Doom, all you need to know is that we were in that  shambles of a queue for almost TWO HOURS.

Everybody had tickets! What were we queuing for?

As promised, they shut the doors in our faces, slowly and ominously, like the gates of Mordor. I couldn't imagine ever getting inside. I thought the only beats I would be listening to would be those of fists against the huge red doors as frustrated revelers decided enough was enough, we came to rave, open the doors and let us in.

Not by the hairs on my chinny chin chin.

Everyone in the queue was grumbling, swearing that they would NEVER go to a Berlinons Paris event EVER AGAIN. Me and the Alley cats were telling ourselves that once we got into the rave, it would be so good that we would forget all about the Queue of Doom.

And then a miracle- the queue suddenly straightened itself out, the doors opened and the queue started moving again.

Matt pointed out, when we were close to the front of the queue, that sometimes the amount of pain you suffer correlates directly with the amount of pleasure you are going to experience. In other words:

shit queue = sick rave

I didn't quite believe him, but sure enough, we managed to get inside the big, red doors, miracles of miracles. The vast entrance hall looked like a converted stables or an outdoor restaurant you'd find on holiday, with  a cobbled floor and flowers painted on the wall.

'Don't tell me it's another wedding reception rave,' I thought, casting my mind back to Katapult at Seven Sisters.

We had to queue AGAIN but this time it wasn't for very long. A bouncer counted twelve of us and told us to follow him. A group had already disappeared in front of us, down a long, dark passageway.  Why was the bouncer taking off in small groups? We wondered if perhaps we had booked ourselves a historical tour by accident.

After more waiting, it was our turn. The bouncer told us to follow him. He led us down a wide, stone passageway which was completely dark except for flickering candles, places in alcoves along the wall. At one point we heard the group that was ahead of us, unseen in the dark twists and turns of the tunnel, cheer and scream.

Then we heard it, techno techno techno, creeping along the passageway ever so quietly, growing louder as we reached another pair of doors. The bouncer opened the doors and we stepped inside, finally.

This has been a very long post so I'll leave it there for now. I'll never forget when I asked Clare if she'd read my latest blog post and she said "I started it, but it was so long darling, I stopped reading."

Cheers, Clare.

If it was you Clare, I can't remember. ANYWAY. Are my posts too long? That's a genuine question, unless nobody answers, then I'll pretend it was a rhetorical question...

*I keep calling him her 'boyfriend', but I was telling Kayt about TC's engagement ring- it's so lovely, it has an opal in it- and she said, "So it's her fiance then, not her boyfriend?" 

So yes, it is her fiance, but it feels weird calling somebody's boyfriend that, like he is a soldier in WWI or something and TC is waiting at home, growing potatoes and knitting herself a wedding dress out of dried milk curd. TC doesn't even call him her fiance- she mostly calls him by his name, which I think is very sensible.


  1. LBM-
    I've been reading your blog for a while but never commented... Long blog posts make my Friday afternoon pass that little bit quicker, so bring on the next installment!
    Liz (from the wrong side of the pennines... depending on which way you look at it).

    1. Thank you Liz from Leeds! (I am guessing)
      And thank you for finally commenting and not leaving me hanging with an awkward, unanswered question...

  2. The longer the better!

  3. yeah I have to say I LOVE the long blog posts.

    1. Thank you!! My vanity has been sated with all these nice comments.

  4. Don't listen to Clare, long posts are great and make e way too nostalgic for Paris.